Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Trader Lobbies Celebrate As DIPP Refuses To Extend Ecommerce FDI Deadline

Government To Not Extend February 1 Deadline For E-Commerce Norms New FDI Rules For E-Commerce: Amazon, Flipkart Eyeing To Push February 1 Deadline Extension - Report
Russell Knight | 03 February, 2019, 13:29

The new e-commerce norms ban companies from striking deals with sellers to sell products exclusively on their platforms.

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After years of protests, nationwide agitations and letters to authorities, traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) have finally found a big win in their fight against leading online marketplaces Amazon and Flipkart.

He was responding to a query on whether there is a new window for eBay in India after the new foreign direct investment policy.

E-marketplace majors viz. Amazon and Walmart-backed Flipkart now have no option but to change their approach of doing business in India as the deadline to comply with the government's new clarification on the policy for the foreign direct investment (FDI) in e-commerce ended on January 31, 2019. "The company has no choice, they are fulfilling a compliance requirement, and the customers will suffer".

Also, the 25 percent restriction wouldn't enable a vendor to purchase more than 25 percent from the wholesale arms of e-commerce entities.

The Bengaluru-based company added that it remains committed to compliance "despite the significant work that is required to change our supply chains and systems".

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After weeks of lobbying with the erstwhile Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), NITI Aayog, finance ministry officials and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Amazon India and Flipkart lost the battle to traders and wholesalers who were vehemently against deadline extention.

Amazon India told Reuters it was "committed to remaining compliant to all the laws of the land", adding that all sellers make their own independent decisions of what to list and when [2].

Small traders have, in the past, complained that deep discounts offered by e-commerce firms were hurting their business.

Both Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart have sought an extension of the February 1 deadline for complying with the revised norms, stating that they need more time to understand the details of the new framework.

The future of India's e-commerce market is in doubt and at this time it is still unclear as to whether the new rules are here to stay. According to a Crisil report, almost 35-40 per cent of e-retail industry sales - amounting to Rs 35,000-40,000 crore - could be hit due to the tightened norms.

While the government has clarified that there's no "restriction on the nature of products (private labels) sold on the marketplace", but the first two guidelines taken in conjunction imply that Amazon or Flipkart can not sell its own products and private labels.

The policy will create new headaches for Walmart which past year invested $16 billion for control of home-grown Flipkart, and Amazon which has committed $5.5 billion to India, as both companies would now be forced tweak business structures there.

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